Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:
GalleyCat rounds up several pitch letters that succeeded in landing a literary agent .
Author and parent Rebecca Mead writes of the difficulties caregivers face  discussing the Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy with their children. (New Yorker)
The New York Times reports small bookstores appear to be thriving .
Maria Popova creates a comprehensive list of her favorite graphic novels and graphic nonfiction  of the year, including The Graphic Canon, Vol. 2, which features interpretations of Whitman, Melville, the Brontë Sisters, and others. (Brain Pickings)
The Wall Street Journal picks its favorite novels of 2012 , including Shani Boianjiu's The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
Literary critic James Wood selects his books of the year , including Zadie Smith’s NW.
Meanwhile, Zadie Smith contributes an essay on joy and sorrow  for the New York Review of Books.
The Daily Beast features a slideshow of the work of painter and caricaturist Feliks Topolski , who created portraits of many famous authors, including W. H. Auden, Graham Greene, and Edith Sitwell.